Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Metrodome blog.

A scary few minutes with the iMac at the office recently -- or rather, with the substitute iMac, since the one I usually use is being upgraded off site. I set Disk Doctor in motion to check the substitute’s hard drive, and blam! it caused a problem with the hard drive. Disk Doctor caused the problem – that is, was Disk Quack in this case. For a while, I couldn’t start the machine using the hard drive. Before long, however, I started it with a CD I have, which also contains Disk First Aid, and that fixed up the damaged hard drive.

Last Wednesday I saw the Twins clobber the Yankees 7-2 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. It was good to visit a new (for me) ballpark, and see a couple of teams I’d never seen before, though it would never occur me to travel around the country visiting all the stadiums, as I’ve heard some fanatics do.

The Metrodome ain’t no Wrigley Field. It’s not even Comiskey, old or new (which I refuse to call by its new name). Which isn’t to say that it doesn’t have some character as a stadium. Unfortunately, it’s utilitarian character, as you'd expect from something called a "metrodome." Ballparks.com has this to say about the structure, a Skidmore Owings & Merrill design of the early 1980s: “The Metrodome is covered by more than 10 acres of Teflon-coated fiberglass. It is the only air-supported dome in the major leagues, and fans enter the park through revolving doors that prevent release of the air that keeps the dome upright. The roof requires 250,000 cubic feet of air pressure per minute to remain inflated, and on at least three occasions slight tears caused by heavy snows have caused the roof to deflate. The right-field wall is 23 feet tall and covered with plastic. Called ‘the Big Blue Baggy’ and ‘Hefty Bag’ by players, the plastic-coated fence hides 7,600 retractable seats that are used when the stadium is in its football configuration.”

There are other such arenas, such as the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis (I refuse to use its current name, too). I visited that one for a fire chiefs’ convention once, and remember its enormous revolving doors. The HHH revolving doors were smaller, and there was no sense of changing air pressure as we entered. The game began at 6:05, and we were in my seat in time for the first pitch. The tickets had been provided by a company that does business with my company, but not business involving the editors, so I was merely on the right business trip at the right time. It was no half-hearted gift, either: we were on the front row, about three-fifths of the way down the third-base line, immediately over the Twins’ dugout.

That’s the closest I’ve ever sat to a major-league game, and probably the closest I ever will. It was close enough to imagine that you were in a much smaller stadium; close enough to see the players sweat. You couldn’t quite look into the dugout without curving your neck like a giraffe, but I could see the players’ tub of iced Gatorade. Still, at the risk of sounding like an ingrate, the seats were also built for discomfort. Besides being hard, the first-row seats had about the same legroom as an airliner in coach.

No matter. I enjoyed the game, and got up when I needed to. During the fifth inning, I circumambulated the entire stadium. It was remarkable how much one part of it looked like any other, especially the arrays of food vendors. At one point I stopped and got a hot dog – a Dome Dog, in fact. It was different from a regular hot in one way. It was bigger.


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